After a recent stint in Italy, surrounded by techno hungry Europeans and a night scene to satisfy Jersey Shore’s tastes, I was eager to get stuck back into the British music scene and to update myself with what aptitude of music has been emerging in the recent months.
Welsh imperative Indie rock band “Masters in France” are playing upstairs in ‘The Garage’, Islington tonight, so what better venue to get an intimate and candid listen to their debut EP, ‘Inhale’ that is due to be released on the 19th of this month.
First played by HUW STEPHENS on BBC Radio Cymru back in August 2009, and having released singles such as “Greyhounds” and “Madhatter” since January 2011, the on looking crowd seems enthusiastic to receive this much awaited exposure of the bands new material.
The Support act that I managed to catch “Buildings”, where an adventurous collective, delivering spacious and ambient indie rock, that they performed with conviction and skill. Some of their breakdowns took me back to early ‘At the Drive In’, with riotous and tumultuous sounds that became quickly and tightly correlated. Stimulating that they were, I was left feeling docile and questioning what to expect, they left an atmosphere that hovered on the stage before the “Masters in France” took over.
The vocalist, Eddie Valentino’s Raspy, face grabbing screams injected energy back into the room and told the muttering crowd that they had in fact arrived, demanding attention and exciting us for what was yet to come, with Valentino falling back into a vocal he used for the rest of the set.
Their single released earlier this year, “Madhatter” possessed A multitude of samey arrangements, the drums by Sion Edwards introduces the song alongside an eyrie droning noise that has a dance influence spilt all over it, though that soon becomes overridden by dark and hostile chords on the guitar (Owain Ginsberg, Mathew Ellis Sayer) and a stringent bass line from Owain Jones. In contrast “Little Girl”, the bands most recent release, consisted of downy and rich easy listening. However the song and overall performance began to lose my attention as it didn’t reverberate the same energy on stage as other tracks such as “Greyhounds” which was bursting with conflicting guitar dynamics and a haunting chorus.
The other songs that they played of the EP that where not so familiar to me resonated what I had already heard, and filled in the spaces nicely. The front row where swaying and focused on what was an interesting and passionate performance.
Waiting for the band as they finished up and the room emptied out I took the opportunity to take a final few snaps and persuade the guitarist to have a chat over a drink.
Although I can imagine many bands that they may have taken influence from when chatting over a vodka soda with the guitarist; Mathew Ellis Sayer, post show it appears that they “don’t take influence from anywhere, only one another”. I don’t completely reject his opinion as they are producing something different; but surely there are always influences?
There is something really genuine and proud about this sound, something rustic and their recent success has not confiscated their edge. Overall it is evident that Masters in France possess a true craftsmanship in the composition and delivery of their music, and that their sound is multi-faceted. There is no obvious parallel or reflection or perhaps even influence derived from the popular South Wales music scene, and it is apparent that they are attempting to create something ‘original’ or bespoke to them, they seem to have set themselves an ambitious and arduous task.